General Motors to build Nikola Badger electric pickup

The Badger will be offered with both battery power and hydrogen fuel cell power

General Motors will manufacture an electric pickup designed by Arizona-based startup Nikola Motors, the companies announced Tuesday.

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The Nikola Badger is a full-size pickup with electric drive that will be offered with both battery power and hydrogen fuel cell power. Fuel cells generate electricity by combining atmospheric oxygen with stored hydrogen that can be refilled much faster than current batteries can be recharged.

Nikola will exchange $2 billion in newly issued common stock, worth 11 percent of the company, for in-kind services and access to General Motors’ global safety-tested and validated parts and components, the companies said in a press release.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
NKLANIKOLA CORPORATION21.15-7.36-25.82%
GMGENERAL MOTORS COMPANY29.34-0.10-0.34%

“This strategic partnership with Nikola, an industry leading disrupter, continues the broader deployment of General Motors’ all-new Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell systems,” GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra said. “We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability.

Nikola is essentially abandoning the fuel cell technology and vehicle platform it has been developing for the Badger, which will be offered in an all-battery version with a range of 300 miles and in a model that adds the fuel cell for an extra 300 miles of range.

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The Badger will incorporate both GM's new Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell technology, the latter of which has been tested by the U.S. Army in the Colorado ZH2 prototype truck. GM will also be the exclusive supplier of fuel cells outside of Europe for the class 7/8 commercial trucks Nikola is also developing.

General Motors is set to introduce an all-electric GMC HUMMER EV pickup with Ultium batteries in late 2021 and expects Badger production to begin by the end of 2022 at a yet to be disclosed location. Barra said GM has no current plans to introduce the Hydrotec technologies into a retail vehicle for one of its own brands, but continues to work on military and aerospace applications.

This story has been updated with additional information